Waiting for a deus ex machina: ‘sustainable extractives’ in a 2°C world

Rajak, Dinah (2020) Waiting for a deus ex machina: ‘sustainable extractives’ in a 2°C world. Critique of Anthropology, 40 (4). pp. 471-489. ISSN 0308-275X

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In recent years the oil industry has shifted from climate change denialism to advocacy of the Paris Agreement, championing sustainability in an apparent assertion (rather than rejection) of corporate responsibility. Meanwhile growth forecasts continue unabated to finance the industry’s enthusiasm for upstream ventures in uncharted territories. How do extractive companies, and those who work in them, square this contradiction? Fieldwork among oil company executives points to a new wave of techno-optimism: a deus ex machina that will descend from the labs of corporate research and development (R&D) labs to reconcile these irreconcilable imperatives. Rather than denial, the projection of win-win synergies between growth and sustainability involves a suspension of disbelief; an instrumental faith in the miraculous power of technology that tenders salvation without forsaking fossil fuels, or restructuring markets.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
School of Global Studies > International Development
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2019 10:29
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2022 10:05
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/85240

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Doing Good by Doing Well'.G1720ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILES/L000636/1
Norwegian energy companies abroad: Expanding the anthropological understanding of corporate responsibilityG1748RESEARCH COUNCIL OF NORWAY153400/240617